Author Topic: reasonable or unreasonable to be irked at incoming houseguest  (Read 10800 times)

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amylouky

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Re: reasonable or unreasonable to be irked at incoming houseguest
« Reply #15 on: May 28, 2013, 12:57:22 PM »
I cannot just leave a key out front.  I live in the heart of a city.  My front door is right off a sidewalk.  People prowl this neighborhood looking for chances to break in.

Ah, see, now that is pretty relevant to me, and does change my thoughts. I thought when you said in your op "I offered to hide a key out", that it would be acceptable to leave a key for him, in which case you wouldn't have to change your plans at all, except not having to pick him up. That's why I said it seemed it would give you more time, not less.

And I meant, it may have been easier for the friend to pick him up at the station than to pick him up at your house, if they wanted to go to breakfast. Not that it would have been easier for friend to pick him up than for you to.

Knitterly

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Re: reasonable or unreasonable to be irked at incoming houseguest
« Reply #16 on: May 28, 2013, 01:03:26 PM »
An old friend of mine got passes to a conference in my city and went on Facebook soliciting a free place to stay.  No one but me offered. 

This is where the problem starts, imo.

The fact that he is going out for breakfast with another friend in your city tells me that he has other friends in your city.

The fact that NO ONE else offered him a place to stay tells me a bit about what kind of houseguest he might be.

Someone who is easy to keep as a houseguest tends to not have to solicit for a free place to stay.  They tend to be more likely to say "Hey, going to X City on Y date!" and get a response of "Need a place to stay??"
A response of "Going to X city on Y date.  I need a place to stay."  and then as the virtual crickets chirp across facebook: "Anyone?  Bueller?  Bueller?"

You're within your rights to be annoyed, because he has taken advantage of you in changing the pickup arrangement in such a way as to strongly indicate that he doesn't think much of your schedule.
« Last Edit: May 28, 2013, 01:42:01 PM by Knitterly »

m2kbug

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Re: reasonable or unreasonable to be irked at incoming houseguest
« Reply #17 on: May 28, 2013, 01:04:36 PM »
I think you are all focusing more on the petsitting thing than I am.  What irked me more about it was NOT that he didn't want to stay the extra days but that he went off on me for "all this back and forth on the interwebz" (2 messages) and how I should use the phone instead and gave me unsolicited lengthy advice about how I should handle things instead.  No one seems to have noticed that.  That made me irked, not him not petsitting (I have arranged someone else to do the petsitting.  That is taken care of). 

From my point of view, what is irking me is (a) getting weirdly upset that I emailed rather than called, (b) mansplaining and giving unhelpful advice I didn't want, (c) changing plans in a way which would make me cancel my plans.

I cannot just leave a key out front.  I live in the heart of a city.  My front door is right off a sidewalk.  People prowl this neighborhood looking for chances to break in.

I think it was a good idea to see if he could stay longer for pet sitting.  Trade a favor for a favor.  He clearly didn't want to do this, and the subject should have been dropped with the ticket excuse.  With your pressing the issue, I don't know if he felt obligated to solve your pet sitting issues for you, which is where his efforts to find you a pet sitter kicked in, which annoyed you.

He shouldn't have changed the plans in the morning without checking with you first, which if you could have safely left a key for him, it would have worked out fine.  Otherwise, he needs to check in first to collect the key.  At the same time, you offered to leave the key, so I'm a little bit confused.  I don't see a huge problem with him going to breakfast since you weren't really going to be around anyway, but what to do with the housekey is a problem.

I think you're being a little sensitive here.  Anytime you take in a guest, there will be minor inconveniences.  It's a good thing he called rather than leaving you hanging, wondering where in the world he is. 

mlogica

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Re: reasonable or unreasonable to be irked at incoming houseguest
« Reply #18 on: May 28, 2013, 01:41:44 PM »
Someone who is easy to keep as a houseguest tends to not have to solicit for a free place to stay.  They tend to be more likely to say "Hey, going to X City on Y date!" and get a response of "Need a place to stay??"
A response of "Going to X city on Y date.  I need a place to stay."  and then as the virtual crickets chirp across facebook: "Anyone?  Bueller?  Bueller?"

Well, yes and no.  I think that depends on the norms within any given social/family circle.  When I see someone post on FB that they are coming to the city where I live, I assume that if their plans are firm enough to let people know that they'll be around, then their plans also already include accommodations.  So I would respond to see when they might be free to get together, but would not offer a place to stay unless further communications indicated that they were looking for that.  (And of course any offer would depend on how close we are, how many people are involved, timing, etc.).

Similarly, if someone did post on FB that they were looking for a place to stay during a planned visit, I wouldn't assume they were difficult guests.  I would just see that as their social norms being different from mine, and would offer my place if various factors made that a reasonable option.

Miss Unleaded

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Re: reasonable or unreasonable to be irked at incoming houseguest
« Reply #19 on: May 28, 2013, 01:47:27 PM »
An old friend of mine got passes to a conference in my city and went on Facebook soliciting a free place to stay.  No one but me offered. 

After he accepted this offer, I realized that the day he intended to leave was also the day I was leaving for several days, and maybe if he extended his stay for a few days, I wouldn't have to pay for a petsitter.  BACKGROUND:  the houseguest is unemployed, so this would not involve taking time off work.  Also, I live in the middle of San Francisco, a popular destination city with lots to do. 

I asked about this, and the houseguest said he'd already booked his train tickets and it would be expensive to change.  I asked how much it would be to change, since I might be willing to pay that.  The houseguest then got cranky, saying that "all this back and forth on the interwebz is driving me crazy" and demanding I call him.  "telephone >> interwebz."   

I think it was reasonable for you to ask him; I might have done the same (you scratch my back, I scratch yours). In retrospect it sounds like the train ticket excuse was him trying to tell you that he didn't want to do it, but I don't think it's your fault that you didn't understand that.

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I was kind of taken aback that two messages, both very friendly in tone and one offering to pay for an expense, was "all this back and forth on the interwebz", enough to drive someone crazy.   I dropped the request about the petsitting.  The houseguest did what I would call "mansplaining", giving me unsolicited advice about people it would be more appropriate for me to ask for petsitting.  (One was a very unstable woman who is so verbally abusive towards me that I have blocked her email, another was a woman I met ONCE three years ago and never saw again-- and he knows this!, and the third was another woman who is going through a divorce, has small children, and is starting her own business AND who lives about 25 minutes drive away at the best of traffic times.  All people it would be insane for me to ask to do me favors). 

This would irritate me.  I definitely don't like people who give unsolicited advice, especially when it's really bad advice.  Already I would be dreading having this guy in my house as a guest.

(Aside:  I hate the term 'mansplaining' though; I think it's pretty sexist)

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After this, I was feeling irritable and less welcoming.  Now today is the day that the houseguest arrives, and I have done some tidying.  I arranged my schedule to wait for him to come and then do other stuff I have to do.  I come home from driving my daughter to school to get a message that he has arranged for another friend to meet him (when and where I was expecting to meet him) and that they are "going out for breakies" and I can join them.  I do not have the time to go out "for breakies" today, and also I'm on a very limited budget and can't afford to go out all the time.  It also irked me greatly that he would assume I have nothing but time and he can change the prior plans (me meet him on his arrival, drive him to my house) to having someone else come get him and go for a leisurely breakfast in a restaurant. 
At least he called, but I think it was rude of him not to clarify his plans earlier (or to change them if you did arrange something).
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Am I being too cranky?  I'm regretting offering to have him stay here.  I sent a note about the "breakies" saying "No, I was waiting for you to get here and then I have somewhere to go. This throws my schedule off. Please don't assume that I have nothing but time to accommodate whatever you want with no notice."   Now he says he won't go for breakfast but he's still having this friend drive him here, who will want to come in.  I offered to hide a key out, as I feel guilty now about him not going for breakfast with his friend, but on the other hand, I don't like being treated like I have nothing but time.  I actually have long-standing plans to go hiking with a friend this morning; we go walking for exercise up steep hills every single Tues. morning (other days do not work because of her work schedule).

Feedback appreciated.  Do I need to adjust my attitude?  Also, how much do I need to feed a houseguest?  I felt generous when I made the initial offering but now feel annoyed and resentful.. and he's not even here yet.

I am a bit confused that here you indicated that you could hide a key, whereas later on you said you couldn't.  Can you clarify?

I think now you need to put on a pleasant face for your guest as well as you can, don't put yourself out any further for his sake.  And after he leaves, cross him off the list of people you will do favours for or ask favours of.  And, I think the fact that nobody else offered to put him up is pretty telling.

Curious Cat

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Re: reasonable or unreasonable to be irked at incoming houseguest
« Reply #20 on: May 28, 2013, 01:50:45 PM »
Huh. I'm not really seeing where a bait and switch ever happened.  If I was unemployed someone had offered me a free two day vacation in San Francisco AND offered to pay to have my train ticket switched I'd be in heaven, not having a tantrum. Assuming that is that I didn't mind pet sitting (which I wouldn't). If I did NOT want to let sit though I'd just say "no unfortunately  I'm not very good with animals" or "no I have to be back in my city for xyz"


I would definitely be annoyed by the lack of consideration for your schedule and unless things improved drastically from this point on I would not be inviting him to stay with me again.

Eta- I agree with knitterly that the fact that none of his other friends were willing to host him is a big red flag
« Last Edit: May 28, 2013, 01:52:39 PM by Curious Cat »

GSNW

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Re: reasonable or unreasonable to be irked at incoming houseguest
« Reply #21 on: May 28, 2013, 02:05:30 PM »
I agree that it was not a "bait and switch."  If OP had specifically invited friend out ("Hey, come stay with me for a few days to catch up!") it might qualify, but that's not what happened.  The not-wanting-to-petsit on the friend's part and OP's failure to understand that from his excuse is not anyone's fault.  Getting annoyed at his unhelpful attempts to help is, IMO, an overreaction. 

OP, I'm not clear on why our opinions mean you should never ask for anything again. 

SiotehCat

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Re: reasonable or unreasonable to be irked at incoming houseguest
« Reply #22 on: May 28, 2013, 02:12:55 PM »
How do we know that nobody else responded? Many people, including myself, do not not respond to requests on facebook.

I have had friends on facebook ask around for various things. Some of them I have been able to help with. When that happens, I will text them or call them. I don't know everyone on their friend list and don't want any of my business out there.

DottyG

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Re: reasonable or unreasonable to be irked at incoming houseguest
« Reply #23 on: May 28, 2013, 02:28:26 PM »
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I think that depends on the norms within any given social/family circle.  When I see someone post on FB that they are coming to the city where I live, I assume that if their plans are firm enough to let people know that they'll be around, then their plans also already include accommodations.

I agree.  If you say you're coming to my town, my first reaction is not to ask if you have a place to stay.  I assume that you've already taken care of that part when you made the arrangements to come.  I don't expect people to try to get a free stay out of anyone who lives in the city; my first instinct is that they got a hotel or something.


bah12

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Re: reasonable or unreasonable to be irked at incoming houseguest
« Reply #24 on: May 28, 2013, 02:38:46 PM »
In general i never ask anyone to do anything for me, and it was an exception here (as I was doing something big and a giant pain in the bacon-fed knave).  This thread confirms for me that in life I shoudl only give and never ask for a thing.

I don't think anyone is suggesting that all you should do is give.  There is nothing wrong in asking for favors.  Neither is there anything wrong in telling someone "no" when they ask you for the favor.  So a couple of things I think can be learned from this experience.

1.  If it's a giant pain in the butt for you to do something for someone (have them stay with you), then don't feel obligated to do it.  It sounds like having this houseguest was not something you were keen on in the first place and it has affected how the two of you interact.  In the future, if you don't want to do it, then don't. 

2. Timing matters when it comes to favors.  Idealy, it would have been good to offer the place to stay in exchange for pet-sitting services up front.  But, I don't blame you for not realizing this until after he accepted your offer and I don't even really blame you for asking for the favor afterwards.  But, because it wasn't discussed before you offered and he accepted the place, he wasn't obligated to give you anything in return.  When he said "no", then it should have been dropped then.  I think it would have solved the snarky comment (which was rude) and he wouldn't have felt like he needed to solve your problem for you (which I also agree is irritating).

So, it's not that you should keep giving and never ask for anything in return, it's that you shouldn't give if it's too much (like here).  Just because you do something nice for someone else, doesn't mean they have to do something nice for you in return and especially if it isn't discussed (though I agree that we should all strive to return favors when possible).  And just like it's ok for someone to say "no" to a favor you ask of them, it's also ok for you to say "no" to what they ask of you. 

Deetee

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Re: reasonable or unreasonable to be irked at incoming houseguest
« Reply #25 on: May 28, 2013, 02:51:23 PM »
I think asking if they could petsit was reasonable. And so was offering to pay to change tickets. It's not up to you to read their mind when he says that is the reason he can't do it.

The only place you went wrong in my opinion was when he changed plans in the morning. A better response would be:
"Sorry, I can't meet you for breakfast. Also, I will be leaving my house at XX oclock so please come by and pick up the key before then or I will be back at XXoclock and you can come over after that time. Let me know what works"

In your response you changed your plans to suit his (so now you are annoyed) and you sent him a snarky message (so he will be annoyed)

When people try to change plans unilaterally, it's much less painful to simply continue your life as planned and let them flounder or adjust accordingly.

Drunken Housewife

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Re: reasonable or unreasonable to be irked at incoming houseguest
« Reply #26 on: May 28, 2013, 03:22:41 PM »
I know no one else responded because he told me no one else responded.

As for hiding the key:  I thought initially of trying it, but then thought better of it.  Too risky.  We have people coming through this neighborhood casing the houses (a thing I have personally observed, and which we are cautioned by the police to be aware of).  There isn't a good place to hide it.  I don't even have a mat in front of the house (wouldn't want to leave a key under the mat if I did, as that is so cliche). 

Anyway, the guest arrived.  I gave him his key, some clean towels, and the password to our WiFi, and I made him a pot of fresh coffee.  Then I left to meet my friend for our longstanding plans. 

What I was reacting to before with the "I guess I should never ask for anything" was the number of people who told me I was flat out wrong to inquire about petsitting (which, BTW, has already been resolved.  Long resolved).  I can't understand why, if I am doing a giant, huge favor for someone, I can't inquire about the possibility of their doing me a favor in return.  Evidently that was a giant faux pas on my part.  I dropped it immediately as soon as I learned that he didn't want to do it. 

I live in an upscale neighborhood in one of the top tourist destination cities in the world, convenient to mass transit, a beautiful, quiet house.  So when I think of offering someone to petsit, it's not as if I am asking them to stay in a hovel or an undesirable location.  Once someone drove from another state to stay here and was thrilled to get time in SF for free in exchange for feeding a few pets.  No one is obligated to petsit for me, but if someone is excited about traveling to my city and excited about staying in my house, it crossed my mind that it might suit both of us for him to extend his stay a few days.  It's not bait and switch, because he still gets what he wants (staying in my house for free) without having to do anything in return for me. 
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lady_disdain

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Re: reasonable or unreasonable to be irked at incoming houseguest
« Reply #27 on: May 28, 2013, 03:22:52 PM »
Yes, you are being cranky. You tried to push a big change (and later complain about his small change as though you hadn't tried the same thing, on a larger scale on him) and complained when he didn't accept it (if he had been an ehellion, "no is a compete answer" would have been my advice for him). You asked him about his financial matters (how much to change the trains or, in other words, what he considered expensive). It is no wonder he was cranky at this point and might have felt a direct phone call would settle things faster. Despite what you call a friendly tone, your messages were not friendly but pushy.

I do think he was rude for changing the plans (although he did let you know as soon as possible, it seems) however inviting you to join them was not rude. He had no way to know of your plans and your budget limitations and, even if he did, it would be rude to assume you wouldn't. Quoting "breakies" in your message sounds sarcastic, even though it may be unintentional.

So, yes, counting up the etiquette infractions on both sides, you do have more.

As to the food issue, since this is a favour and a real guest situation (you didn't invite him per se but offered to help out), you aren't obliged to feed him every meal, etc. But I do think you should tell him as soon as he arrives what you are and aren't offering ("help yourself to cereal in the morning, there is water in the fridge. I am always out for lunch so you will have to fend for yourself. Please don't eat the cake, as that is for whatever").


Olympia

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Re: reasonable or unreasonable to be irked at incoming houseguest
« Reply #28 on: May 28, 2013, 03:23:00 PM »
An old friend of mine got passes to a conference in my city and went on Facebook soliciting a free place to stay.  No one but me offered. 

This is where the problem starts, imo.

The fact that he is going out for breakfast with another friend in your city tells me that he has other friends in your city.

The fact that NO ONE else offered him a place to stay tells me a bit about what kind of houseguest he might be.

That's really jumping to conclusions, isn't it? I live near a major city, not near public transportation, in a small house, with two kids. If someone was coming to the major city, I probably wouldn't leap to offer a place to stay unless no one else stepped up, because it'd be highly inconvenient for the visitor. However, picking that person up from the airport, going for breakfast, and then dropping that person off wherever they're staying would probably not be an issue. Someplace like San Francisco, which is noted for the ultra-high cost of living, my first assumption would be that the other people this person knows just don't have space to put someone up.

Surianne

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Re: reasonable or unreasonable to be irked at incoming houseguest
« Reply #29 on: May 28, 2013, 04:05:55 PM »
I can't understand why, if I am doing a giant, huge favor for someone, I can't inquire about the possibility of their doing me a favor in return. 

I wonder if this is part of the disconnect.  To me letting a friend crash at my place is pretty normal, casual and easy.  I'd never consider it a "giant, huge favor". 

Petsitting in my head is a much bigger favour because I'm actually *responsible* for living beings, and asking him to change his train and any plans he may have is also a very substantial favour.  But you see it as a great thing you're offering him, because you feel that your neighbourhood and city are wonderful.  He may not see it as a bonus but as a significant inconvenience and is shocked you'd try to get him to do a reciprocal favour without including it in your original offer of a place to crash.

It does feel like a bait-and-switch to me.  I think that you're overreacting to this because you see letting someone crash as such a huge favour.  In the future, it's probably best not to offer to let someone crash at your house if you see it as something that's a large bother.